NARSAD Grant-Funded Research Identifies New Target to Treat Autism

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Olivier Manzoni, Ph.D., Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale in France, autism expert
Olivier Manzoni, Ph.D.

Olivier Manzoni, Ph.D., of INSERM (Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale) in France, used his NARSAD Independent Investigator Grant to help find a new therapeutic strategy to combat the brain deficits caused by Fragile X Syndrome (FXS).

FXS is the most common known genetic cause of autism. Although many research studies have demonstrated that inhibitory neurotransmission is abnormal in the Fragile X brain, the studies of inhibitory circuits have had conflicting results. Recently, researchers have begun studying the inhibitory circuits regulated by the endocannabinoid system which consist of compounds that are created naturally in the body and share a similar chemical structure with THC, the primary psychoactive component of marijuana.

In their paper published online September 25th in Nature Communications, Dr. Manzoni and his colleagues demonstrated in a mouse model that many of the cognitive and behavioral effects of Fragile X caused by disruptions in the endocannabinoid system could be corrected by increasing the natural marijuana-like chemicals in the brain.

"Our study opens an entirely new avenue for treatment," Dr. Manzoni said. "This research corresponds to the project for which I received my NARSAD Grant in 2010 and could not have been done without the generous support and trust of the Foundation."

Read More about Dr. Manzoni's work into Fragile X Syndrome

Article comments

Dear Dr. Manzoni I am a high functioning aspbergers syndrome person who cant get her needs met there needs to be more supports for me and others that are underserved in the system this has been very tough for me I have a lot of vast needs with my aspbergers syndrome and I cant get my needs met this has been very tough for me maybe your research will help me and others to get are needs met we have a broken health care system and mental health care system in this country I need a breakthrough so I can get my needs met I also have primary lymphedema is there a scientist that is working on a cure for lymphedema I have never had this in the past and none of my family members have this I have been told that I have to live with this swelling it is very uncomfortable and I don't like it I wish there were a cure maybe someday so I don't have to live with this swelling . have a nice day

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Please note that researchers cannot give specific recommendations or advice about treatment; diagnosis and treatment are complex and highly individualized processes that require comprehensive face-to- face assessment. Please visit our "Ask an Expert" section to see a list of Q & A with NARSAD Grantees.
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